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    • “Homeland Security” Performing Searches Near Mobile Bay

      Yikes! Watch out on the waters from Mobil Bay, moving east to Perdido Key

      Cruising News:
      Mariners be advised that multijurisdictional boardings and vessel searches are being conducted AT DOCKS IN PRIVATE MARINAS in the area extending from Ingram Bayou/Orange Beach to marinas on Mobile Bay. Cruisers report first contact by Homeland Security vessels with alongside questioning at the entrance/exit of Bon Secour Bay. US Coast Guard, local police, drug dog, Alabama Marine Police, and Border Patrol/customs officers are seeking documentation info and ID of captains and crews but do not appear interested in safety or sanitation inspections. We would advise our fellow boaters to be on guard and be prepared. Even if permission is not given, boaters are being informed that the officers are going to “search your boat anyway.” Have all information in order related to liquor carried aboard as well as a ship’s log and other proof of where you have been and where you are going. It was repeatedly asserted to us that we had been in the Bahamas when in fact we had not, and the origin of a bottle of liqueur was closely questioned because it was named “Nassau Royale” even though in fact this product is widely available in the US and is manufactured in Puerto Rico.
      Remember that the officers are authorized to LIE in order to gain information and in severe cases of unreasonable search & seizure without permission, be prepared to request an attorney before answering ANY questions.
      Scott & Cyndi Perkins

      In a country that always trumpets its self designated superiority because it ‘˜follows the rule of law’ your government doesn’t seem to recognize any Constitutional limits. Rule of law for the proles but for the rich and their badged minions not so much.
      Bosunj

      WE just came through this area and wasn’t boarded, however, we did see a USCG RIB stopping fishing boats and spending a lot of time with them.
      James Angel

      Comments from Cruisers (1)

    • GOOD NEWS – Marathon, Fl Abandons Plans to Prohibit Anchoring Outside of Boot Key Harbor Mooring Field

      Click This Chartlet to Open a Chart View Page Centered on Boot Key Harbor

      Regular visitors to the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net will remember that about four weeks ago, we published an article authored by our very special Florida Keys correspondent, Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd, which warned of possible new anchoring restrictions in Boot Key Harbor (BKH) outside the mooring field. The reaction from the cruising community was swift and vocal, and the Marathon City Council seems to have heeded that outcry. As Captain Charmine reports anew below, it looks as if anchoring on most of BKH will not be impeded.
      On an even broader scale, Charmaine also provides a link to Monroe County’s (all of the Florida Keys) plan on how they will implement their participation in the Florida Pilot Mooring Field Program. This is MUST reading for any who cherish the idea of anchoring anywhere in the Florida Keys, and, trust me, there are literally hundreds and hundreds of idyllic anchorages in this region. So, follow the link below, and let us know what you think!

      April 10th 2012
      Florida Pilot Program UPDATE: Monroe County Proposed PP Ordinance
      by Charmaine Smith Ladd
      The most recent draft of proposed ordinances for Monroe County (including the municipalities of Marathon and Key West) are now online for your perusal and comment. Please read thoroughly and let your concerns be heard. There will be a meeting of the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) on April 18th where the final draft of proposed ordinances will be on the table for approval to go forward through the protocol of the FWC administered Pilot Program.
      All boaters and cruisers will be happy to know that anchoring in the most protected Harbor in all of the Florida Keys, Boot Key Harbor, will remain available.
      Please download the proposed ordinances from the following link: http://www.monroecounty-fl.gov/agendacenter

      With the city charging $22 plus tax for 1 days dinghy dockage, NO one in their right mind is going to anchor there! It is so sad Marathon insists on a exorbadant dinghy dockage when other Florida comunities provide FREE dinghy dockage. Miami Beach is building a free dinghy dock, Ft Myers Beach has a free dinghy dock, Cape Coral has free dinghy dockage. LaBelle has free dockage. Marathon has to get with it or loose out!
      Harv

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    • Good Advice on Navigating the Georgia Section of the AICW

      It almost goes without saying, but let’s say it anyway, that the Georgia stretch of the Atlantic Intacoastal Waterway is the most difficult section of the entire Waterway passage from Norfolk, VA to Miami, FL. Such AICW Problem Stretches as Little Mud River and Jekyll Creek are enough to make any captain lose their religion.
      Below, Captain Grogen gives us all some good, general advice about keeping to the best depths possible in these waters.

      Time to comment on the `rules of the mud bottom channels’. The deepest part of the channel is probably NOT going to be in the middle. Water current on a falling (ebb) tide runs faster than water on a rising (flood) tide, and the faster water cuts a deeper channel. So, the deepest place in a tidal channel is the outside bend in a falling tide current. The next deepest place is the outside bend on a rising tide current. On some curves where the curve is outside for both the ebb and flood, to will find very deep water and the possibility that the curve is even outside the charts. The situation at MM 704 is a good example of that. On some S curves you will find shallow water in the center of the channel. At low tide look at the banks, along a steep bank you will find deep water close to the bank,
      along a gradual bank, shallow water. In some of the cuts that have been dredged, it isn’t always obvious which way the water flows, so you just have to observe which way the water is flowing at a given tide state. So, read the channel by looking at it, and don’t follow the magenta line on your chart plotter. Frequently, your chart plotter will show you in the marsh, and there have even been some places where the deepest water is outside of the buoyed channel! When your depth finder is showing less than the chart, wonder slowly back and forth looking for the deep water, sometimes the deep channel isn’t very wide. You actually learn a lot about a channel at low tide when you can really see it.
      Chuck Gorgen

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Georga AICW Problem Stretch Directory

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    • How to Deal with AICW Problem Stretches – A Recommendation

      We do certainly appreciate the recommendation by Glen and Jill Moore. And since you are reading this, you already know the value of our AICW Problem Stretch Directory cited below!

      Multiple sources of information are best to plan avoidance of problem areas along the ICW. One source that we have always found helpful is the Salty Southeast Cruisers Net. We check it every day when in the southeast. The link below is to the Navigation Alerts page for Georgia.
      Glen and Jill Moore

      /category/ga-aicw-problems/

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    • Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Now Readily Available in Palm Beach, Broward and Dade Counties, Florida

      Within ten minutes of receiving the important message below from Captain Hyde, the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net was on the telephone with Wise Gas, Inc. to determine their area of service. That’s one of the advantages of being a “non-wicki,” professionally moderated web site. Anyway, what we discovered is a potential boon for cruisers in southeastern Florida. More on that in just a second.
      So, why is a ready source of CNG such big news for the cruising community? Quite simply, CNG is a superior fuel for all on-board cooking and heating purposes, as compared to propane/LPG. As many of you already know, LPG/Propane is heavier than air and, should there be a leak, can accumulate in bilges or a low place in a boat, leading to a potentially explosive situation. Conversely, CNG is lighter than air, and tends to naturally disperse.
      The problem is, as we so clearly learned while formulating the SSECN’s LPG Availability Directories, that CNG is hard to obtain. Quite simply, there are very few dealers to which cruisers have easy access where their CNG tanks can be refilled.
      Back to Wise Gas, Inc. Our telephone call revealed that this company will pick up, refill and deliver back to your vessel, CNG tanks from the “tri-county area” of southeastern Florida, which is comprised of Palm Beach, Broward and Dade counties. Additionally, WITH ADVANCE ARRANGEMENTS, sometimes the same procedure can be undertaken along the west coast of Florida, particularly in the Tampa Bay region.
      So, while it’s still not a perfect solution, nor one so broad ranging as we would like, at least now from North Palm Beach to Miami, cruisers can be sure of having a source to refill CNG tanks. It’s a start!

      Claiborne —
      On your recent visit to Punta Gorda, Florida I mentioned to you that if I was ever able to locate a source of CNG for those using the gas onboard their boats, I would let you know. I have finally found a source. Wise Gas, Inc., 1058 Bluewood Terrace, Weston, FL 33327 is source of CNG for vessels and vehicles in south Florida. Its website advises the following:

      `At present time, Wise Gas, Inc. is offering CNG tank refills to marine boaters in the South Florida area only. We do anticipate expanding this service in terms of geography and service options in the future. Call Wise Gas, Inc. in advance at (954)-636-4291 to coordinate a CNG refill. A member of our team will meet you, pick up your current, approved cylinder in good condition and refill it for you and deliver it back to you.’
      The cost of this service varies based on cylinder size and location. Call in advance to schedule your refilling needs.
      E-mail: info@wisegasinc.com
      Phone: (954)-636-4291

      I recently met with a Wise Gas representative who was in Punta Gorda making deliveries on the west coast and exchanged my empty tank for a full one. It was a smooth and convenient process. The cost was $40.
      I would advise your readers to visit the Wise Gas website at http://www.wisegasinc.com for all the information. I hope this helps and thanks for a great presentation to the boaters of Punta Gorda.
      Noel Hyde
      s/v Kismet

      Comments from Cruisers (1)

      1. Jeff Sawyer -  May 3, 2018 - 11:29 am

        Unfortunately, it seems this is a dead end. I have called the number above and getting no answer and a voicemail box that is full. I feel like I’m the only one that has CNG on my boat. No one seems to know where or how to get these refilled. If anyone has any updated information about this, please let me know.. Thanks Jeff Sawyer

        Reply to Jeff
    • GOOD NEWS – Utility Lines Crossing Boot Key Harbor Primary Entrance Repaired

      Click This Chartlet to Open a Chart View Page Centered on the Entrance to Boot Key Harbor

      We are very pleased to report that as of this morning, 3/27/12, the once sagging utility lines crossing the primary entrance to Boot Key Harbor have been repaired, and returned to their normal vertical clearance of 65 feet. Our sincere thanks to Captain Peter F. TenHaagen for this report, and for the dramatic photo attached to this message. To see more of Captain Peter’s utility line repair photos, click the “Photo Gallery” icon/link below!
      The Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net would also like to express a sincere thanks to the cruising community for their help and cooperation in getting the word out about this formerly dangerous situation over the past several days. Working together, there is little the combined forces of the SSECN and the Cruising Community cannot achieve!

      Just wanted to let you know they finished making the wires the correct height again today (ribbon hanging down is their measuring device!) at the Knights Key Channel entrance to Boot Key Harbor and sailboats are now coming and going freely.
      Peter

      Cruising News:
      THE WIRE IS FIXED to 65′ Clear M.H.W.
      Edwin Spomer

      The sagging lines appeared to be fixed about 3 PM Monday afternoon. We were heading back from lunch and passed under the bridge/cables while the barge with two men up in the crane finished. There is a new yellow/red circle attached to the middle of the cable, I guess to show it’s been fixed? Anyway, as we watched, the barge lowered the two men in the crane back to deck, so hopefully all is well again in Marathon.
      Cheers!
      Jan,
      sv Winterlude
      http://www.commutercruiser.com

      I witnessed the incident [that originally caused the utility lines to sag]. It was Sunday, March 18. I was in my dinghy heading toward the bridge. A big catamaran with a 75 foot rig was trying to enter the harbor. Suddenly she reared back like a motorcycle doing a wheelie. If she had been going any faster, she would have flipped herself onto her back.
      Unfortunately I didn’t get the vessel name, but I did talk to the people on board. They were 6 teenagers there for the sailing regatta. They tied off at the old abandoned marina next to Burdines.
      Dick Mills

      Hello All,
      Has anyone noticed if they put a tide reading scale [ 24-25-26 ] on the EAST , mooring field side of the bridge ? Am I missing it. I dont think I have seen one on that side.
      THANKS
      TOM

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    • Praise for Leland Oil Company Now Open and New Docks Ready for Cruisers, McClellanville, SC, AICW Statute Mile 430

      We understand from other contributors that Leland Oil Company Marina, under a new owner, is steadily making improvements to this very affordable facility and long a source of good fuel prices. We hear, too, that the owner will take time to drive you to nearby stores. Also note that if you have never visited the backwater village of McClellanville, SC, you owe it to yourself to stop here and at least take in the community. It’s like stepping into a time machine that transports you to what most of the Low Country must have looked like 50 years ago. Try it, you might just like it!

      Leland Oil Co. is in the process of replacing our fixed wooden docks with new floating docks. Should be ready by March 10 with the utilities in by the 20th. Hope to see some of you soon.
      Duane Merritt, Dockmaster

      Mar 26,2012
      The updates to our docks at Leland Oil Co. are now complete and we are open for business.
      Duane Merritt

      We were here a few years ago on Easter. Duane invited us to accompany he and his family to a local restaurant for Easter Dinner. It was wonderful. Another time he gave us a ride to a grocery store.
      Now the new floating docks are done’¦They came out great’¦ Easy access, new power ped3stals Nice wide aluminum float.
      What we love about this place is the hospitality, the down home charm of the area for taking a walk. A couple of FRESH seafood stores’¦.(walking distance) This trip we are here in time for softshell crabs.
      Check out the 1000 yr old Live Oak tree. The only thing you can hear here’¦’¦..Nothing! Talk about peace and quiet.
      The entrance off the ICW. Stay in the center is the key. We draw 5 1/2′ no prob 1/2 tide.
      Bob n Nancy Spiro M/V Rachel J.

      March 31, Stayed at Leland Oil Company and had a peaceful night! Brand new floating aluminum docks with new pedestals shows a strong desire to cater to more cruisers. Met and assisted dockside upon arrival. The fuel is convenient and the price is competitive. The rest of the amenities are a little Spartan but the walk around the town is spectacular if you like tree and Spanish moss covered streets and classic southern small town homes. A wonderful stay in a working harbor and we will keep coming back.
      Kip Brundage

      Click Here To View the South Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Leland Oil Company

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Entrance to McClellanville Channel

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    • Depths on Sister Creek (Marathon, Alternate Passage from Hawk Channel to Boot Key Harbor)

      As part of the recent string of messages concerning the sagging utility lines over the primary entrance to Boot Key Harbor (see /?p=84015), a side discussion has come about concerning depths on Sister Creek. The “primary” entrance to Boot Key Harbor (“BKH”) is a more or less straight shot from Moser Channel. This is the passage over which the sagging utility lines cross.
      Sister Creek is an alternate entrance to BKH, which runs, more or less, north from Hawk Channel. In the “sagging utility lines posting,” both yours truly and our very special Florida Keys correspondent, Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd, cautioned that boats drawing more than 4 feet should not attempt to use Sister Creek to access BKH. This admonition resulted in some dissenting points of view:

      Click Chartlet Above to Open a Chart View Page Centered on the Entrance to Boot Key Harbor

      Good to hear the alert but Sister’s Creek is deeper than 4′. I have come in and out of Boot Key via Sister’s Creek and have never experienced less than 6′. Take your own chances ‘“ I’m just saying.
      Always FOR SAIL too

      I disagree about Sister Creek ‘“ large sportfishers and sailing craft enter the harbor from Sister Creek daily. There is a spot at the entrance that might preclude 6’ from entering at MLW, but half tide and rising there is no apparent problem. I am anchored on Sister Creek with two other craft as I write this.
      Peter TenHaagen

      So, I asked Captain Charmine to comment further on the soundings to be expected in Sister Creek. Here is her reply:

      Regarding SISTER CREEK. Sister Creek at mean low tide is 4’1’³. That’s FOUR FEET ONE INCH. From that point, as usual, you have to do the math with the tides as far as one’s draft is concerned. Obviously if you have a two foot tide you’ll be fine if you draw less than six feet. With that said, whatever someone has experienced in their vessel is highly subjective and there are dangerously hard groundings that occur in Sister Creek because of this. Each Captain has to make his or her decision based on their particular situation.
      This is why I am extremely cautious with suggesting using Sister Creek to others. Some don’t watch tides as closely as others. Therefore, I merely report its mean low tide depth. Those who traverse Sister Creek with 6′ drafts have done their homework’¦and that is all that is necessary in order to decide to use it or not. Just know that it is not quite a no-brainer unless you have a shallower draft vessel.
      Hugs!
      Charmaine

      Remember if you enter Sister Creek from Hawk Channel, it’s a normal red-right-returning as you enter Boot Key Harbor.But the channel colors `reverse’ where Sister Creek meets Boot Key Harbor. That’s because the markers near that entrance are really a continuation of the markers from the main entrance channel at Seven Mile Bridge, and thus are `reverse-colors’ from the Sister Creek entrance. That can cause confusion and potential grounding if the skipper is on the `wrong’ side of the markers as they enter Boot Key Harbor where the water at that intersection is shallow.
      Joe Curley

      I agree with Captain Charmaine. Our boat draws 4 feet and our depth sounder is accurate to within 2 inches. We departed Sister Creek in February of 2012 at dead low tide and our depth reading was 4 feet. Sister Creek itself is deep enough. The shallow area is east of the entrance to Sister Creek between the Red and Green marks.
      James Angel

      We recently entered Boot Key via Sister’screek in our sailboat. It was at mid tide. Our dept sounder is set for actual water depth and is accurate. We saw readings or 4.1 on the sounder. The draft on our boat is 5 foot but we never even felt a bump let alone run hard aground. I wonder if there is a heavy grass growth that may be bouncing the echoe sound up from the tall grass. This occurred just off the beach in the channel. The rest of the way was all over 5 foot or better
      Capt. Mike

      I just returned in my dinghy from the marked channel entering Sister Creek from Hawk Channel ‘“ I found at dead low tide some 4.5′ spots between markers 2 and 3/4, nothing under 5′ after that and nothing under 7′ once past the marked channel. I don’t know the exact tide range but it is well over 2’ ‘“ I would say 3-4′ depending on winds and other conditions that affect the tide. I did this for friends in a 5′ draft sailboat planning to meet me here over the weekend.
      Peter TenHaagen

      Boat using sister creek this morning reported at least 6′ at near high tide. Local knowledge is needed as there are shallow rocks reported to be inside one of the red markers. Local boat US will charge $400 to escort you thru.
      Ted

      For the past 12 years I have lived on Sombrero Blvd. For the first 5ive years I had a Shannon 43 drawing when cruising 5′ 2’³ that I took in and out of Sisters Creek. I have read the warnings and looked at the charts but have yet to run aground. My neighbor had a Gulfstar 50 that he took in and out numerous times. He did bump once or twice but never ran aground. I took my boat in and out regardless of the tide level although never at a low low tide.
      Joe Hamrick

      Re Sisters Creek: I lived in Marathon for 11 years, and always used the Sisters channel coming and going on my 50′ Gulfstar with 5.5′ draft. I recall a light bumping once or twice during very low tides, but most locals consider the channel good for 6′ in normal high tides.
      The old charts do say 4’ at MLT, but local knowledge is pretty well established on this one.
      Ed Loke

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    • A Tall Ship Will Make Washington, NC Waterfront Docks Its New Homeport


      Washington, NC is a long-time and much valued SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!

      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, March 14, 2012, WASHINGTON, NC
      The Schooner Jeanie B, a 72′ tall masted sailing vessel, will be coming to the City of Washington and become a fixture to the community of Eastern North Carolina.

      The Washington Harbor District Alliance helped to formulate the new partnership between the City of Washington and The Schooner Jeanie B. This partnership creates a relationship that couples the vibrant waterfront in Washington, NC with the educational and family sailings of the vessel. Schooner Jeanie B will reconnect the rich history of Washington’s past which was active with tall ships with the present when she arrives March 21.
      The Schooner Jeanie B is a traditional sailing vessel that sails with Camps Sea Gull and Seafarer during the summer months and Boy Scouts of America and the Pamlico Sea Base during the spring and fall months. Jeanie B teaches principles of sailing, ship handling, and traditional navigation including using the stars to find their way. Team and character building are another benefit the campers, scouts and students experience living aboard the boat
      as they travel around the Inner Banks of North Carolina visiting various ports such as Manteo, Ocracoke, Washington and Beaufort.
      The Jeanie B also provides sailing excursions during the week and weekends from the docks in Washington, NC. She can take up to 25 passengers for afternoon and evening sunset or star gazing sails. The captain and crew of Jeanie B can put you at the helm of the 72′ vessel, allow you and your friends to raise her sails and navigate along the Pamlico River or just sit back and enjoy the peaceful sail of an afternoon or evening.
      To celebrate the arrival of Schooner Jeanie B, the City of Washington, NC welcomes her March 21 – 24 with an array of activities. Jeanie B will arrive in Washington on the afternoon of Wednesday, March 21 and that evening a lecture entitled, “Equinox, Solstice, Hallmark and Hershey. A talk on astronomical events and how they merge with our lives” will be given by Dr. Lee Sutton, owner and operator of the schooner. Jeanie B teaches celestial navigation and her arrival, to coincide with the Vernal Equinox on March 21, couples that teaching to her new home. The lecture will take place at the North Carolina Estuarium along the Washington waterfront.
      Thursday and Friday, March 22, 23, the vessel will be offering free tours from 10am until 2pm. Saturday, March 24, Jeanie will be offering free to all the public multiple sailings from the docks of the City of Washington.
      After this arrival celebration, the schooner will make Washington, NC her permanent home and be available for corporate, family or group sailings throughout the year. For additional information, please contact the Jeanie B at 804-519-0174 and schoonerjeanieb@gmail.com
      For more information Contact Lee Sutton at 804-519-0174 or Beth Byrd, Director Washington Harbor District Alliance at 252-947-1487, whda@washingtononthewater.com
      Beth Byrd
      Director
      Washington Harbor District Alliance
      102 East 2nd Street
      PO Box 1988
      Washington, NC 27889
      Cell: 252-947-1487
      Email: whda@washingtononthewater.com
      Web: www.whda.org
      Much appreciation goes out to our Corporate Sponsors and the City of Washington for their support:

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Marina Directory Listing For the Washington City Docks

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Washington City Docks

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    • Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net Alert Newsletter Honored With The “2011 Constant Contact All Star Award”

      What can I add, except to say that all of us associated with the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net are honored and humbled to be awarded this prestigious recognition. Of course, Constant Contact is the service we use to formulate and dispatch our “Salty Southeast Cruiser’ Net Alerts” to those of you who subscribe to this service. And, I might add, many, many other companies use the Constant Contact Service. We suspect it’s the #1 electronic newsletter service in the world.
      So, to be picked by Constant Contact as being among the top 10% of their users is praise indeed! But, that’s enough tooting our own whistle. I’ll let CC speak for themselves below!

      You shine brightly for your customers.
      And, for us too.
      Congratulations Again, All Star!
      Your efforts last year to reach your customers and engage with them were exemplary. Stellar. Your customers noticed and responded positively. And we saw it. That’s why we’re incredibly proud to name you to our roster of 2011 All Stars.
      Only 10% of our customers achieve All Star status every year. That you’ve managed to do it for consecutive years puts you in an even more elite class, which makes your accomplishment even more noteworthy.

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